Fanatics is expanding its relationship with WWE, already one its broadest sports partnerships, to include global retail operations.
Starting next month, Fanatics will operate brick-and-mortar retail and merchandise stands at WWE’s 300 global events, including WrestleMania and SummerSlam. The new rights join a handful of long-term partnerships that the two sides announced last year, when WWE became one of the first major U.S. sports properties to work with Fanatics across all parts of its newly expanded business—memorabilia, collectible, NFTs, physical trading cards, and, of course, e-commerce.
Terms of the new extension weren’t announced.
The deal was negotiated by WWE’s current leadership team, before the group’s pending merger with UFC was announced earlier this month. UFC’s current owner, Endeavor (NYSE: EDR) will own 51% of that new publicly traded entity, with existing WWE (NYSE: WWE) shareholders owning the other 49%. Fanatics does not have any broad e-commerce, licensing or product deals with UFC.
WWE posted record revenue of $1.3 billion in 2022, citing monetization of its intellectual property and year-over-year increases related to those exclusive Fanatics deals. Revenue from its consumer product division, which covers the sale of WWE-branded products and video games, was $135 million in 2022, up 33% from 2021 ($101 million).
WWE previously ran its event retail operations in-house. It was also one of the rare major U.S. sports properties to run its e-commerce in-house, until last year’s expanded relationship with Fanatics.
The Fanatics-WWE relationship is a model that Michael Rubin’s company is hoping to replicate across other sports leagues, teams and U.S. colleges. The company recently raised money at a $31 billion valuation, with sports betting being its next frontier.